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Dark Rye Flour Sourdough Bread - double batch · Sunday September 11, 2022 by colin newell

Sourdough bread is, as history tells us, the World’s first bread.

Ingredients include water, salt, flour and natural yeast – and not the yeast that comes out of the jar – the stuff that is all around is at all times… in the air, on the ground, on our skin… yea, there too – everywhere. It is the natural leavening agent that has been with us forever.

It is also said that man cannot live on bread alone — while that is not entirely true, I think what they meant was that we need to mix it up a bit – as in adding darker flours, like rye and whole wheat! Now that is definitely better for you.

In this recipe we do not talk about sourdough starter, levain and such like… you need to research that in advance – this is a recipe for a moderately advanced baker. Need help – email me or get Googling!

Instructions

1.) Grab a bowl that will hold at least 1 kg of dough – that is 1000G – so something medium/large sized.

2.) Add 180g of your ready sourdough starter to the bowl. (It is ready when a spoonful floats in water…)

3.) Add 18g of kosher salt – great salt can effect the flavour so don’t cheap out on this critical ingredient.

4.) Add 585g of warm water (not hot water!) 35 to 45 degrees © or 110 degrees (F) is probably OK but definitely not hotter than that.

5.) Mix the water, salt and starter well. Add a tablespoon or two of blackstrap molasses for some sweetness and depth of colour. Option: Add 1-2 tablespoons of caraway seeds.

6.) Gradually add 375g of white flour, 375g of whole-wheat flour and 150g of rye flour.

You can use a mixer. I do this by hand or with a bread mixing hook.
Work/knead the dough to form a sticky ball.

Stretch and fold – To develop the gluten in the dough, it is important to stretch and fold the dough twice an hour for the first 2 hours and then once more before putting in the fridge to develop/ferment overnight.

There are many awesome YouTube tutorials on the “Stretch and Fold” so find one you like and develop your technique. Note video below!

7.) You can let this all rise overnight (6 to 12 hours) or slow it down by putting it in the fridge. Fermentation keeps moving along even when your dough is tucked away in a cool area – it changes the flavour some. For keeping the dough “feisty” I tend to keep it out in the kitchen and work around its schedule.

Rule: Higher room temperature, faster “development” and fermentation of the dough.

8.) Assuming you are doing this overnight, in the morning the dough should have doubles in size – or more. Pull out the dough and toss it onto a floured bread board or surface you are happy scattering flour on.

9.) Here is another learning moment – (find a suitable YouTube video…[example below]) This is where you work the dough a bit and pull, fold and shape into a “loaf” and drop into a floured or parchment papered loaf pan.
Do consult the internets on technique because it is extra difficult to describe in words alone.

10.) Let rise for 4 – 6 hours… even 8 hours… or overnight again… in the fridge.

12. ) Transfer the dough into the pan. Cover and “2nd rise” for 4 to 6 hours. Dress with additional caraway seed. Slash with a razor (see the video below!)

13.) Bake for 24-28 minutes at 475 degrees (F) or until delightfully brown on top. You are looking for a core temperature of at least 190 (F)

14.) If baking in a Dutch Oven, bake for the first 17-20 minutes with the cover on -
and then for another 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees — or until core TEMP of 190 (F)

Turn onto drying rack for, at least, 30 minutes or more before cutting — I know, it is tempting to try cutting it when it is right out of the oven. Don’t do it! You lose a lot of moisture by cutting the bread too soon.

Check out the video below for some valuable technique! Trust me – the more video you watch, the better you are going to be at making bread!

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The 2022 Jeremy Dutcher Tour University of Victoria Farquhar Theatre · Friday September 9, 2022 by colin newell

Jeremy Dutcher Canadian Tour

Marking my first outing back into the world of live entertainment, Andrea and I bought tickets for the much anticipated Jeremy Dutcher and band at the University of Victoria Farquhar auditorium Friday night.

It has been two and a half years since I sat for some live music — a very long wait. And without question, this was worth waiting for.

Jeremy Dutcher is a classically-trained Canadian tenor, composer, musicologist, performer and social activist, born in New Brunswick. A Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) member of the Tobique First Nation in North-West New Brunswick, Dutcher studied music and anthropology at Dalhousie University and currently calls Montreal, Quebec home.

Many know him from his CBC radio exposure and his project of interpreting 110-year-old wax cylinder recordings of ancestral songs and creating breathtakingly haunting arias and ballads in dialogue incorporating samples of those recordings.

Dutcher, winner of the Polaris Prize capping a five-year journey to produce/release his debut album, is one of the approximately 100 individuals who speak Wolastoq. Described as a “severely endangered language”, Dutcher feels composing the songs developed a closer relationship with his own ancestors, creating a medium for healing among the younger generations – victims of generational trauma, cultural suppression and re-navigating an anglo-centric narrative in Canadian music history.

Prior to seeing Jeremy, I had little exposure to any of his multi-media work, videos, live stuff – etc. So it was an extra special treat to see him and the band with no expectations on how he would approach his material.
So it was a pleasant surprise to see a very sparse stage set-up with little more than a piano, acoustic bass, drums, guitar and a trumpet.

Jeremy Dutcher is a very fit and particularly hirsute fellow who commanded the stage in a way reminiscent of performances by Jim Morrison, Robert Plant and (yup, I’m going there…) Freddie Mercury of Queen. There is no denying this man is a force of nature, who seemed to have a maturity and sophistication way beyond his years.

And despite the fact that the bulk of the performance was in Wolastoq, the music held the audience captive through feeling and emotion — at one point the audience was split in two groups to provide a 2 octave drone in the key of G for one of his pieces… and it was pure magic. The line between audience and performers was completely dissolved.

Jeremy’s band consisted of UVic alumna (and Oscar Peterson School of Music faculty) Tara Kannangara, on trumpet, composer-producer-multi-instrumentalist Bram Gielen on double-bass, Spencer Cole,Toronto based drummer, pianist, vocalist, and composer and Thom Gill on some very funky guitar. These were very accomplished jazz musicians.

Jeremy Dutcher’s single 105 minute set felt like something of a seance – a connection with spirits long passed – or a raising of memories – a healing – a learning – a yearning for a better connection to who we are – to the Earth under our feet – to the misfortune and misdirection of our colonial past. Not so much as an exercise in judgement (from Dutcher…) – not at all. His was a position coming from a place of peace and love – a more encouraging exercise… way more than a series of learning moments.

And based on the standing ovations (three) the room as a whole achieved something. Something tangible. Something mystical. Something progressive.

And for a moment, back to the dialogue on pop stars past, Jeremy made me imagine what it would be like to be in an intimate live space with the likes of Jim Morrison of the Doors. It was palpable. He exuded a twin-spirited kind of sexuality that was hard to quantify in purely human terms. He effortlessly played with phrasing, fluid and flawless ascending and descending legato. Little hand gestures reminded me of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Honestly, I have not had this much fun and this many tears at a live performance, well, ever.
So bravo Jeremy Dutcher and band! My first thought with his last note was: When can I experience this again? It was that good. Catch him when you can. Check out Jeremy Dutcher on his website.


Colin Newell is a Victoria area resident and long time author of the website CoffeeCrew.com – writing on the subject of cafe culture since 1996.

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Book review - Chase of the Rising Sun - Colin Rink · Monday July 4, 2022 by colin newell

Colin Rink - author of Chase of the Rising SunI grew up out in the countryside listening to the national broadcaster of Japan, NHK, on the shortwave spectrum. In the 1970’s, international broadcasting was about to enter its peak before a swift decline in the 1990’s.

Inasmuch as I knew about Japan, from what I was taught in school, watched on television (with the requisite twisted stereotypes more typical of 1960’s television), I was always fascinated by this mysterious culture. A society, largely closed to the rest of the World, save for tourism. NHK radio opened up some of the secrets of this nation and I was hooked.

In Colin Rink’s debut novel, Chase of the Rising Sun, Colin crafts a tale of adventure, intrigue, romance and tragedy around one Mark Rasper, a newly minted 30 year old from Vancouver B.C. who is eager to break free. Rasper has tired of his job, the shallowness of his relationships and succumbs to a yearning for travel and a fresh start.

Obsessed with Japanese culture and traditions, Rasper pulls up all his stakes and heads to Tokyo with a small suitcase, backpack and the barest of minimums of Japanese fluency. Propelled by a solid job opportunity from his Vancouver employer, Rasper finds himself immediately over his head as if overwhelmed by the power of a Pacific tsunami.

For those that have bookmarked Japan as a future destination, Chase of the Rising Sun is as much a thriller as it is a tourist masterclass on what awaits the first time visitor. Attention to detail is exquisite. The sights, sounds and smells of the Tokyo culinary scene literally waft off each page as the reader is slowly drawn into the fray.

Rink leaves few aspects of Japanese daily life off of the table – which reinforces the solidity and believability of “Rising Sun.” Whether it is the almost insurmountable task of merely “fitting in” or getting a more complete understanding of the work culture, to the habit of “work hard, work long hours and drink impossible amounts of liquor late into the night…” Rink does not miss one rhythm of this nations mysterious heart beat.

I found Chase of the Rising Sun to be an immediately breezy read – with a familiarity to it that was more a byproduct of my preexisting knowledge of this cryptic and often contradictory society. For those seeking a culinary or cultural shockwave to Japan, this is a must read or must pack along. From the food and beverage aspect of the novel, the cuisine alone is a sufficient enticement to drop what you are doing and buy a ticket pronto! And by the way, this book is not a foodies guide to the land of the Rising Sun – but more an extension of the author’s literacy. And I loved it.

Chase of the Rising Sun would be a great first book with some tame adult content for teens – but enjoyed immensely by this 60 year old. There are some surprising twists and turns in the novel. If there was one bone to pick, I genuinely wanted more – and I was left not knowing – which made the denouement of the book… well, I’ll let you find out for yourself!

Chase of the Rising Sun is available in most reputable bookstores and on Amazon!


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and lover of coffee and cocktail culture – and occasionally reviews a book or two. Read? Me? You bet – and you should too!

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Sourdough Rye Bread · Saturday May 21, 2022 by colin newell

Sourdough bread is, as history tells us, the World’s first bread.

Ingredients include water, salt, flour and natural yeast – and not the yeast that comes out of the jar – the stuff that is all around is at all times… in the air, on the ground, on our skin… yea, there too – everywhere. It is the natural leavening agent that has been with us forever.

It is also said that man cannot live on bread alone — while that is not entirely true, I think what they meant was that we need to mix it up a bit – as in adding darker flours, like rye and whole wheat! Now that is definitely better for you.

In this recipe we do not talk about sourdough starter, levain and such like… you need to research that in advance – this is a recipe for a moderately advanced baker. Need help – email me or get Googling!

Instructions

1.) Grab a bowl that will hold at least 1/2 kg of dough – that is 500G – so something medium sized.

2.) Add 100g of your ready sourdough starter to the bowl. (It is ready when a spoonful floats in water…)

3.) Add 10g of kosher salt – great salt can effect the flavour so don’t cheap out on this critical ingredient.

4.) Add 360g of warm water (not hot water!) 35 to 45 degrees © or 110 degrees (F) is probably OK but definitely not hotter than that.

5.) Mix the water, salt and starter well. Add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses for some sweetness and depth of color. Add 1-2 tablespoons of caraway seeds.

6.) Gradually add 230g of white flour, 230g of whole-wheat flour and 52g of rye flour.

You can use a mixer. I do this by hand or with a bread mixing hook.
Work/knead the dough to form a sticky ball.

Stretch and fold – To develop the gluten in the dough, it is important to stretch and fold the dough twice an hour for the first 2 hours and then once more before putting in the fridge to develop/ferment overnight.

There are many awesome YouTube tutorials on the “Stretch and Fold” so find one you like and develop your technique. Note video below!

7.) You can let this all rise overnight (6 to 12 hours) or slow it down by putting it in the fridge. Fermentation keeps moving along even when your dough is tucked away in a cool area – it changes the flavour some. For keeping the dough “feisty” I tend to keep it out in the kitchen and work around its schedule.

Rule: Higher room temperature, faster “development” and fermentation of the dough.

8.) Assuming you are doing this overnight, in the morning the dough should have doubles in size – or more. Pull out the dough and toss it onto a floured bread board or surface you are happy scattering flour on.

9.) Here is another learning moment – (find a suitable YouTube video…[example below]) This is where you work the dough a bit and pull, fold and shape into a “loaf” and drop into a floured or parchment papered loaf pan.
Do consult the internets on technique because it is extra difficult to describe in words alone.

10.) Let rise for 4 – 6 hours… even 8 hours… or overnight again… in the fridge.

12. ) Transfer the dough into the pan. Cover and “2nd rise” for 4 to 6 hours. Dress with additional caraway seed. Slash with a razor (see the video below!)

13.) Bake for 24-28 minutes at 475 degrees (F) or until delightfully brown on top. You are looking for a core temperature of at least 190 (F)

14.) If baking in a Dutch Oven, bake for the first 17-20 minutes with the cover on -
and then for another 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees — or until core TEMP of 190 (F)

Turn onto drying rack for, at least, 30 minutes or more before cutting — I know, it is tempting to try cutting it when it is right out of the oven. Don’t do it! You lose a lot of moisture by cutting the bread too soon.
Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and pop culture writer – active on the internets since 1994! That is a long time. His features on pop culture, food and beverage things have been around here…. well… forever!

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Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies with Olive Oil · Monday May 16, 2022 by colin newell

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie

There are few flavours more perfectly mated than peanut butter and chocolate. It could very well be the greatest taste accident of all time. In this recipe I riff on the previous Bon Appetit take on the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Take out the tahini, add in peanut butter and hope for the best. I am quite literally trying this for the first time. Fingers crossed!

Update: These cookies are amazing – I have tested them on colleagues and the eye rolls appeared to be pleasure based.

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups (222g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup (97g) extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cups (148g) brown sugar
½ cups (50g) white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black strap molasses (optional)

2 chilled eggs (120 g)

½ cup (145g) creamy peanut butter – I use a dark roast peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ – ¾ cups of chopped dark chocolate chips OR light chocolate chips

Directions

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350°F.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, corn starch, baking soda, and salt.
Set aside

In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, all of the sugars (including molasses) and eggs, and vanilla.

Electric blend until very creamy.

Add in peanut butter butter and mix until combined. (Actually, as creamy as possible…)

Using a rubber spatula, mix in the dry ingredients you set aside earlier. Mix until just combined.
Add the chopped chocolate and either mix in with a rubber spatula, or knead using your hands.

Chill the dough for 2 – 4 hours or (even better) overnight.

Scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of dough into your hands and roll into balls. Place on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (for smaller cookies) [16 minutes for bigger cookies…] or until the edges are golden brown.

Sprinkle Fleur de sel on top.

Let cookies rest on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool. Honestly, these are super tasty after they have cooled off – and even the day after.
Ideally, the dough can chill for several days (but be careful! Raw eggs after all…). The dough also freezes just fine.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident, coffee and technology expert and often-times baker. He knows his way around a dough hook and has infested the internet with his zany ideas since 1995!

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